San Diego City Hall
San Diego City Hall / Photo by Brittany Cruz-Fejeran

San Diego City HallSan Diego City Hall / Photo by Brittany Cruz-Fejera

The proposed rules for San Diego’s new Commission on Police Practices disqualify anyone with a felony record from being appointed a commissioner unless the person gets an expungement or is five years out from completing probation or parole. 

The felony ban was added to the commission’s implementation ordinance language in January. That’s something that surprised many community members who spent the last year providing input on how the commission should operate. 

In a new story, Voice of San Diego contributor Kelly Davis writes that San Diego’s conviction ban would actually buck a national trend. 

A review of 30 police oversight boards across the country showed that only five explicitly ban anyone with a felony conviction. In Boulder, Colorado, having a criminal record is actually a plus, writes Davis. 

Andrea St. Julian, co-founder of the group San Diegans for Justice who’s been involved in the commission’s creation, said the felony ban is counter to what the community wanted. 

“The community had been so vocal over the past 15 months about how important it was to not have a per se ban for anyone who’s ever been convicted of a felony,” she said. 

Read Davis’ full story here. 

Council Will Review Housing Commission CEO

In a rare move, the San Diego City Council plans to review the performance of Rick Gentry, CEO of the San Diego Housing Commission, following the agency’s rather bumpy year and controversial real estate decisions. 

In the latest Politics Report, Scott Lewis and Andrew Keatts break down why this is actually a significant departure from the norm. The agency is overseen by two boards: the City Council, acting as the San Diego Housing Authority, and an independent board of commissioners, appointed by the Mayor and confirmed by the council. 

The latter typically handles the CEO’s review, but the Council as the authority wants to conduct its own hearing, along with another item. 

Also, there’s an update on the dispute between labor and San Diego State University. That and more in the Politics Report, a weekly Saturday newsletter exclusive to VOSD members. Support our work here. 

Elsewhere in the Outer Limits: our podcast hosts talked to Jakob McWhinney about the web of contractors behind free Covid testing sites at trolley stations and the blame-shifting that followed long delays results. They also took stock of the upcoming races for sheriff and Chula Vista mayor. 

A homeless encampment near Market Street in downtown San Diego / Photo by Adriana Heldiz

What We (Un)learned About Homelessness

The talented San Diego 101 team at VOSD put together a helpful podcast about one of the most talked-about issues in the city: homelessness. They tapped into several experts including our very own Lisa Halverstadt, a researcher and individuals with lived experience to debunk the three most common misconceptions. 

If you missed it, you can listen here

Megan Wood, who provides readers with steller round-ups in the bi-weekly What We Learned This Week newsletter, dug deeper into the correlation between mental illness and homelessness. 

Read more here, and subscribe here

In Other News

  • Two members of San Diego’s congressional delegation are hoping the region can get its share of $16 billion in federal funds set aside for ports and waterways to help reduce pollution in the bayside communities of Barrio Logan and National City. Specifically, Rep. Scott Peters hopes the region can get money for power systems that let large ships avoid using diesel fuel when they’re in ports, reducing the pollution they pump into nearby neighborhoods. (KPBS)
  • The number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 in San Diego County fell to 837 Friday. It was as 1,348 in late January. (City News Service)
  • The San Diego City Council could approve a deal Tuesday between the city and San Diego Gas & Electric that would speed up utility undergrounding projects. The speed up could begin in a year. (San Diego Union-Tribune)
  • Two superintendents of smaller school districts – the 15,800-student Cajon Valley and 4,800-student Fallbrook Union Elementary – are the highest paid school superintendents in the county, according to a new Union-Tribune analysis, with each pulling in larger salaries than the leaders of the Los Angeles Unified and San Diego Unified school districts, the two largest in the state.
  • A series of costly water projects, coupled with a decade of plummeting demand for water from households, caused San Diego water rates to soar in recent years, until they eventually exceeded Los Angeles, concludes a recent study out of Arizona State University covered by the Union-Tribune.

This Morning Report was written by Andrea Lopez-Villafaña, Andrew Keatts and Jesse Marx. 

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